Millwall 2 Grimsby 0

Last updated : 31 August 2002 By Footymad Previewer

"He was different class for us today, I gave him a deeper role behind the two strikers and he bagged us the goals," said Mark McGhee.

Goals, or rather the lack of them have been a common problem for both sides this season. The Mariners single strike was only marginally bettered by the The Lions, who with two to their name prior to kick off are failing to live up to expectations given their fourth place finish last term.

It was Millwall who ended Town's 11-match unbeaten run on the final Sunday of last season to secure a play-off spot. And so both teams would have been viewing the coming campaigne positively.

Grismby player boss Paul Groves has been hit hard by the ITV DIgital collapse, Michael Boulding and Bradley Allen leaving the club as a result. Add Steve Linvingstone's fractured skull to the equasion and the Mariners poor return makes a little more sense.

Rumours over pay appear to be behind Millwall's poor tally, but performances have been better than results. McGhee's preference for a target man had relegated Claridge to the bench, but when given the nod against Grimsby the veteran made the most of his chance.

An accomplished seventh minute finish capitalising on Steve Chettle poor backpass, and a second seemed certain as Neil Harris' shot cannoned of the post into his path, only for the 36-year-old to miscue.

Claridge did have the final word as he settled a quiet game on the hour, pouncing to turn in the loose ball after Tim Cahill's vicious volley had escaped from Danny Coyne.

The keeper did well to hold a Harris shot, but needed the help of Town's man of the match Simon Ford to clear a Claridge effoft from the line a minute after the break.

Grimsby's toothless attack gave the home defence little cause for concern and Harris, Paul Ifill and sub Ben May all missed chances to extend the lead, while Claridge almost completed a hat-trick in the final minute